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Boat floating in front of a marina

The NYPA and UltraMAP

The management of ice in the Niagara River above Niagara Falls is critical for many reasons.

The NYPA and UltraMAP

The management of ice in the Niagara River above Niagara Falls is critical for many reasons.  Although the ice can form spectacular ice bridges it can also be potentially very destructive. Possible damage from the ice includes severe shoreline damage, threatening the ‘Maid of the Mist’ docks and tour boats below the falls.

As well as this, the ice could also block up the hydro generating station water intakes. This means that a lot of effort has to go in to getting the management of ice right on both sides of the USA / Canada border, to ensure that none of the above damage occurs. However this year, the New York Power Authority “NYPA” has extended its contract with UltraMAP to help with this management process.

The NYPA has a number of hydro generator water intakes along the Niagara River in Grass Island Pool therefore if forming ice is allowed to build it can be sucked into the intakes causing blockages. Currently the NYPA employ two icebreakers who try remove the ice and disperse it down a flushing channel so that it doesn’t go over the main falls. However, because of the flow speed of the water over the falls, for their safety, the icebreakers have to manoeuvre in very restricted areas. No vessels are allowed to enter the designated danger areas above the falls either. 

Since 1964 the NYPA has also employed an ice boom across the mouth of the Niagara River at Lake Erie. This keeps the ice build-up from Lake Erie flowing into the lower gorge of the Niagara River and causing an ice bridge. This ice boom extends to 2,680 metres from the outer break wall at Buffalo across the Lake Erie outlet to the Niagara River to near the Canadian shoreline.

How AssetMonitor fits in

The contract between the NYPA and UltraMAP will see that the safe zones, danger zones and large submerged boulders marked with Virtual Beacons are mapped using AssetMonitor. This allows the movement of the icebreakers to be monitored with alerts being generated if vessels get near any of the danger areas. The NYPA will be using Virtual Beacons and AssetMonitor to:

1. Mark the location of the boom’s anchor chains in the river to make them easier to find when installing the boom.
2. Aid safety by providing warnings if any vessel gets too close to the ice boom.

This way the ice can be monitored and removed in a safe environment.

If you have any questions about UltraMAP or AssetMonitor feel free to give Martin a call on 0191 233 6351.

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